Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah promised thousands of supporters Thursday that they would eventually bring down Lebanon's Western-backed government, but the prime minister vowed to stand firm against protesters.
It was the seventh day of street demonstrations by Hezbollah and other pro-Syrian parties aimed at pressuring Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to quit in a deepening political crisis threatening to tear the country apart.
In a rousing speech delivered on huge screens in two central Beirut squares, Nasrallah accused Saniora of conniving with Israel during its monthlong war with Hezbollah last summer. He said Saniora ordered the Lebanese army to confiscate Hezbollah's supplies of weapons.
It was Nasrallah's sharpest attack on the prime minister since the August cease-fire that ended the fighting.
Nasrallah added that government officials had asked American envoys to persuade Israel to destroy Hezbollah.
Hezbollah wants to topple Saniora's government because it has rejected demands for forming a national unity government that would give the pro-Hezbollah factions veto power in the Cabinet.